#Article (Archive)

Need for transparency and access to information

Mar 19, 2014, 10:10 AM

Going by the contents of local newspapers reporting in the fuel crisis, it is obvious that it has been difficult for the news media to get the right information, and to inform the public adequately on the apparent fuel scarcity presently gripping the country.

It is our view that in the absence of information from the operators in the petroleum sub sector, such as Gam-petroleum, the ministry for Petroleum should come to the rescue.

Ideally, it should have issued a statement explaining the situation, and informing the general public what was being done to address the problem.

In any case, we thought it would be in order to point out the following:

People often talk about access to information and transparency.

A government is transparent when information that it holds about its activities, policies, etc., is available to the public. Therefore, transparency is the result of information being available.

A transparent public body is one that ensures accessibility of information by people.

Usually, this means, among others, that the public body is good and fast at answering requests for information from the public…

Transparency has numerous benefits.

The public has the right to hold the government and public officials to account for how they act and for the decisions they take. To do this information is needed.

The role of media is particularly important here because journalists play the role of “public watchdogs”.

In a democracy it is essential that people can access a wide range of information in order to participate in a real and effective way in the matters that affect them.

Responding to requests for information, especially proactive disclosure of information, also has its benefits

“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”

Mahatma Gandhi